Drumpf and others have conflated exercising the right to voice dissent with disrespecting our troops, leading many vets to slam the dozens of players now taking part in the peaceful protest of racial injustice (and support a man who actually disrespected our troops on more than one occasion).
But a free country where protesting is legal and encouraged is what our military fights to protect every day.
Just ask John Middlemas.
John is a 97-year-old Navy veteran who served on submarines for 21 years, during World War II, the Korean War, and the Cold War. And on Sunday he took a knee in solidarity:
My grandpa is a 97 year-old WWII vet & Missouri farmer who wanted to join w/ those who #TakeaKnee: “those kids have every right to protest.” pic.twitter.com/LurCj7SLUB
├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ Brennan Gilmore (@brennanmgilmore) September 24, 2017
After the photo went viral on Sunday, John’s grandson Brennan Gilmore told Buzzfeed News more about his grandfather, “an ally to the civil rights movement” for decades:
“He has been a Democrat for many years, but at the end of the day, he thinks that the core values our country is founded on transcend party affiliation. Dr. King was one of his heroes, and he said that he had hoped that one day he would see Dr. King become President. He loves Obama.”
As for Grandpa John’s views on service and protest of the flag, Brennan explains:
“Members of the military like my grandfather who risked their lives or fought for this country did not do so because of symbols like the flag or the anthem but because of the ideas those symbols represent, like freedom of speech, and equality and justice for all.”
That’s where Trump’s simplified message has it wrong:
“Trump’s comments suggested that we should protect symbols at the expense of the values.”
Though we also think there’s a good chance egomaniac Trump now views the flag as a symbol for himself since it’s now his America.
We just want to say thank you to Grandpa John for his service and his understanding.